\nA short story about the pencil tree\nBotanists call the pencil treeEuphorbia tirucalli and it belongs to the spurge family. However, it is not only known to us under the name pencil tree, but also bears the names rubber hedge, pencil plant or milk bush. The name milk bush comes from the fact that the impressive houseplant produces a white, milky sap.\nOn the other hand, the pencil-like small branches resemble a rubber-like plant, hence the name rubber hedge. The plant originally occurs in tropical South and East Africa. Over time, however, it has spread throughout the tropics and is now used as a houseplant in our country. That's why proper pencil tree care is essential.\nAppearance of the rubber tree\nIn its natural environment, the pencil tree can reach a height of six meters. Since its upright growth habit is rather shrub-like, it forms many strong branches over the course of its life. Small oval leaves grow on the rubbery and pencil-like branches, which fall off very quickly. The rather inconspicuous pencil tree blossoms grow at the tips of the shoots.\n\nImage source: Photo by and (c)2006 Derek Ramsey (Ram-Man). Location credit to the Chanticleer Garden, Euphorbia tirucalli ‚Sticks on Fire' Plant 3264px, CC BY-SA 3.0\nThe right pencil tree care: location, watering, fertilizing etc.\nDespite the easy-care type you should pay attention to a few things. Because the pencil tree care should not be underestimated either. Treat your plant with care and you'll have an extravagant tropical plant at home.\nPencil Tree Location: Sunbathers\nDue to its origin, the pencil tree, which belongs to the succulents (water-storing plants), tolerates drought and sunlight very well. A warm and bright place in your apartment is ideal, but do not place it in the blazing sun. If you have the opportunity, your plant also likes to be outside in the summer months.\nIn winter, however, you should bring them back inside, as they cannot tolerate temperatures below twelve degrees. If you have your pencil tree indoors during the cooler months, then it can easily be in a location that is between twelve and fifteen degrees. It just shouldn't get any colder.\nPencil tree earth: Limescale please\n Proper pencil tree care also requires the optimal composition of the soil. The plant should best grow in a humus-poor substrate with approx. 70% mineral additives, as this ensures perfect aeration.\nA mixture (1:1) of normal potting soil with quartz sand or pumice gravel works well for this. Make sure, however, that you do not use construction sand. This contains too much lime and is therefore harmful to the pencil tree.\nTip: Use special cactus soil for your pencil tree. The properties of this substrate are also tailored to the rubbery succulent.\n\nWater the pencil tree: less is more\nAs far as watering the pencil tree care is concerned, the plant is very frugal. The following applies here: Use the water very sparingly. Since the pencil tree belongs to the succulents, it can store water very well in its plant body, even over a very long period of time.\nThat's why this easy-care plant might come in handy for you, as it needs very little watering. You should always water with lime-free water and only when the top layer of soil has dried well.During dormancy in winter, the pencil tree needs even less water\nCaution: Be sure to avoid backwater by pouring off excess water. The succulent is prone to root rot.\nFertilize the pencil tree: Here the plant is very frugal\nIn its growth phase from March to October, you can supply the plant with normal cactus fertilizer once a month. As you can see, the pencil tree care does not have high demands when it comes to fertilizing. Even if coffee grounds and stinging nettle stock have proven to be very good biological fertilizers for plants, you should not use them on the pencil tree.\nYou should also stay away from long-term fertilizers because of possible over-fertilization of the plant. In the winter months, when the pencil tree is dormant, you don't need to fertilize it.\nPruning the pencil tree - growing healthy\nIf you notice that your plant is no longer producing new shoots and is looking slightly bare, especially in the lower half of the plant, then it is time for a pruning. This will help you to enable the pencil tree to grow healthily again. When pruning, you should cut off the top third to shorten the plant.\nTip: Use the cut shoots as cuttings for your propagation.\nCaution: Be sure to wear gloves when you cut off the shoots, as the plant sap they contain can cause severe skin irritation. Also avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.\n\nImage source: Frank Vincentz, Euphorbia tirucalli3 ies, CC BY-SA 3.0\nRepot pencil tree increases resilience\nIf you want your tropical plant to develop a high level of resilience, then pencil tree care includes repotting. You should plant it in a new container with fresh soil every two to three years. You can recognize the right pot by the fact that its circumference is two to three centimeters larger than the previous one.\nOnce you have taken the plant out of the old pot, the first thing you should do is shake off the used soil from the plant and its roots. In the new planter, a potsherd on the bottom is ideal for water drainage.\nFirst pour in the special cactus soil about two centimeters high and then put the pencil tree in the pot. Then fill in the remaining cavities as normal. Finally pour it vigorously and you're done!\nPropagating a pencil tree - It's that easy\nAs we mentioned above, you can use the shoots removed during pruning for a pencil tree propagation. Starting a family by propagating cuttings is super easy and can be done in no time.\nAfter cutting off the shoots from the mother plant, you need to let them air dry for a few days. You can then plant them immediately in a container with the appropriate soil. Place the small daughter plants in a bright and warm location and be very economical with watering.\nAfter about 20 to 30 days, roots have formed.\nCaution: Do not let the shoots of the pencil tree root in a glass of water, as the plant tends to rot quickly.\nIs the pencil tree poisonous?\nAs tropical and extraordinary as the pencil tree may look, unfortunately it also has its pitfalls. The milky plant sap, which emerges when the shoots are cut off, quickly causes irritation if it comes into contact with the skin. You should therefore keep babies, dogs and cats as far away from the plant as possible.\nEven when consumed, the toxic components of the plant can cause stomach problems, vomiting and diarrhea. So always make sure that the pencil tree is out of the reach of children and pets.\n\nTips for pencil tree problems\nThe most common pencil tree care mistake occurs with watering. If you water the plant too much, so that the water builds up and the soil is permanently wet, it can quickly develop root rot. If this is the case, it is best to cut off a few shoots in good time and stick them in dry substrate for healthy rooting. It is best to dispose of the rest of the pencil tree, as the plant dies very quickly when the root rot has matured.\nFind the matching plant\nThe easy-care rubber tree is also ideal for plant lovers without a green thumb. Take a look at our shop and discover other easy-care plants.\n \n\nTo our easy-care indoor plants.